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Our 2024 festival takes place Friday 18 – Sunday 20 October 2024 at High Leigh Conference Centre.
For Everything there is a Season
Our Festival theme this year is taken from Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1. Throughout the weekend these words will encourage our thinking around the seasons of the year, the seasons of our lives, and the seasons in the church’s liturgical calendar. As always, we have a packed programme of fellowship, worship, and creative activities – and we hope that you will join us.
The programme for the weekend
Friday 20 October
Arriving at The Hayes from 4.00 pm, there will be time to register and settle in your room before we meet for our opening session in the main hall – an opportunity to meet friends old and new, to talk together, and to share our hopes and expectations for the weekend.
Dinner will be served at 6.45 pm, after which we will meet again in the main hall for our keynote address on the theme. This will be given by the Revd Nel Shallow, who will also act as our Chaplain for the weekend.
The evening will finish with a time for making music and worshipping together before repairing to our rooms or to the bar.
Saturday 21 October
For those who wish, the day will begin with morning prayer, followed by breakfast. You can then enjoy two of the creative workshops on offer; you can see the options on the creative workshops tab – we’re sure there’ll be plenty to interest you!
The ArtServe AGM will take place immediately after lunch, and we hope that anyone not able to come to the Festival itself will be able to join us for this, either in person or via Zoom. After a break for refreshments, you can enjoy a third creative workshop. Bear in mind also that you can attend the whole of the Saturday as a day visitor.
In the evening, Amber Valley Voices will entertain us, and the evening will close with prayer. This 80-strong mixed-voice community choir was started in 2014 and meets in Swanwick.
Sunday 22 October
The day will begin with optional morning prayer and breakfast, before meeting in small groups to prepare our closing worship. After a break for refreshment we will gather in the main hall to hear presentations about the creative ministries of some ArtServe members.
Our closing worship will take place after lunch, and we will be ready to depart by 4.00 pm.
You will be able to choose from the following 10 creative workshops, but you don't have to decide yet! Nearer the time, we will contact everyone who has booked for the festival, asking you to choose your workshops.
A Church for all Seasons
This is an introduction to Forest Church (outdoor worship). You will learn how to build a Forest Church session using seasonal markers, including a practical session outdoors to cement your new-found knowledge. This workshop is for anyone looking to facilitate experiential personal interaction with God.
Unless it's lashing down, this workshop will mostly take place outdoors – so please wear stout footwear and appropriate outdoor clothing!
Facilitator: Siggy Parratt-Halbert
Siggy is Regional Learning and Development Officer (Yorkshire) for the Methodist Church.
Art with a Twist of Faith
In this workshop you will discover, explore, and create artwork which reflects the Bible's use of symbols, signs and seasons. Any media of your choice may be used.
Facilitator: Ken Twist
Ken is a display and graphic artist, a Methodist Pioneer, and a member of ArtServe.
Our theme for the weekend is taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, one of the poetry and wisdom books of the Bible. So, it’s appropriate that our quilting craft activity also provides a little poem to reflect on.
Whatever your level of sewing ability, there’s a mini blessing quilt for you! Each little quilt has either a heart or a cross inside, with a poem relevant to each. They come in little self-seal bags, ready to give away (especially if someone you know is going through a tough time or needs a word of encouragement), or keep for yourself.
The simplified mini quilts use only basic running stitch, and can easily be completed during the workshop. There will also be embroidery thread and other embellishments available, so you can add extra details to personalise your quilt.
Facilitator: Michelle Pickering
Michelle is a member and trustee of ArtServe; as an avid crafter, she has dabbled in most crafts over the years, but spends most of her free time now quilting and bookbinding.
In today’s hectic, chaotic world we can sometimes seem to hurtle from season to season. This workshop offers the opportunity to take time to write a psalm of your own, for yourself or for others, inspired by words from the original Psalms and a selection of art and nature images, alongside gentle music. A brief introduction, then room to think, breathe and write, or move to a quiet space outdoors for your further inspiration.
Facilitator: Jacqui Hicks
Jacqui is a member and trustee of ArtServe, and recently retired as a teaching assistant.
Create Pray: Art Therapy for the Mind and Soul
Create Pray offers a relaxing, contemplative time to play with colour in God’s presence. In this session we will be inspired by images of the seasons from the natural environment of God’s creation. There will be a short time of head-to-toe Christian Mindfulness relaxation, to prepare ourselves before we begin to create.
We will look at some example of art works relating to the theme ‘Seasons in Life’ and reflect on Ecclesiastes 3:1–8. With a variety of art mediums we will create a picture relating to the theme in the form of a tree or an abstract. No experience is necessary to enjoy ‘Create Pray’!
Facilitator: Kay Mason
Kay is a visual artist using multimedia, a Licensed Lay Minister within the Church of England, and a member of ArtServe.
Dementia Friendly Worship
This will be a discussion session for anyone involved in, or interested in, worshipping with people with dementia. It is not a ‘how to …’ session as such, but rather an opportunity to share your ideas, experiences, successes and failures, to bring and share resources, and to discuss ways of supporting people with dementia and making our church buildings and our worship more accessible for them.
Facilitator: Rob Newton
Rob leads worship at a care home for people with dementia and leads a fortnightly all-age and all-ability ‘Worship Lounge’ service. He is an ArtServe trustee.
Flesh on Bare Bones: Creative Writing
Many of the stories in the Bible are thin on detail. They give us the ‘bare bones’ – who did and said what – but very little ‘flesh’ – the motives and feelings of the characters, the sights, smells, and sounds, the ‘what happened next’ …
In this workshop, we’ll look again at some familiar Bible stories, and think about ways in which we might bring the story to life by ‘putting flesh on the bare bones’. There will then be some time for you to have a go at re-imagining a Bible story and writing your own piece of prose or poetry. The workshop is for anyone who wants to come and write – beginner, expert, and all points between.
Facilitator: Jude Simms
Jude is editor of the ArtServe magazine; she has an MA in creative writing, and is currently writing her first novel.
A fun and informal ‘have-a-go’ session. Helen and her team will play a piece for four ringers as an introduction to the session, and then it’s over to you! You’ll learn some ‘rounds’, and a couple of easy pieces which you will be able to master by the end of the workshop. No experience is necessary, and all equipment will be provided.
Facilitator: Helen Foley
Helen lives in Sheffield, and she and her team are all members of the Dronfield Handbell Ringers.
Sing like a Professional
An opportunity to work with the experienced tenor and vocal coach Lyndon Gardner, when you will get to learn something from his vast experience on the stage, concert platform and recording studio. You will learn good breathing techniques and posture, have a brief introduction to the mysteries of the written musical score, get to grips with some choral music, and maybe finally find out which voice category you are best suited to – soprano, alto, tenor or bass.
Whether you are a pure beginner or a more experienced singer, hopefully there will be something for you to enjoy and experience.
Everyone can sing – it's just a matter of degree. Here's your chance to find out.
Facilitator: Lyndon Gardner
Lyndon is an experienced lyric tenor soloist performing on the stage, in concerts and a wide variety of oratorios throughout the country and more recently abroad, who has developed an enviable reputation as an intelligent tenor of genuine quality, with stage presence, musicality and an educated sense of style.
For Everything there is a Season takes place at:
The Hayes Conference Centre
Swanwick, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 1AU
The Hayes is a well-equipped Christian conference centre set in beautifully maintained gardens and grounds. It offers comfortable modern bedrooms and extensive facilities including a residents lounge, sports facilities, games room, and licensed bar, along with friendly, efficient staff. Free Wi-Fi is available.
The Hayes Conference Centre is only five miles from the M1. The nearest railway station is Alfreton on the Sheffield – Nottingham and Liverpool – Norwich lines.
For full details about The Hayes, its facilities, travel directions, and much more, please visit the The Hayes website.
The all-inclusive cost of the weekend, including accommodation for two nights and all meals, is £230 per person for a single room, or £200 per person for a shared room.
A reduced rate of £120 is available for young people up to 18 years of age. There is no charge for children under five.
It is possible to attend all or part of the weekend on a non-residential basis as a day visitor.
We require a deposit of £50 per person at time of booking (£20 for young people aged 5–18, and £20 per day for non-residential places). The balance is payable by 30 September 2023.
For methods of payment please see how to book.
How to book
The easiest way is to book online. Members, please log in first to save entering your personal details. You can use the online booking form even if you pay by cheque (cheques must be made payable to Christian Creativity Ltd).
Due to constraints imposed by the conference centre, we require all bookings by Saturday 30 September 2023.
To book by post please download the postal booking form and send the completed form to: ArtServe membership, 51 Blakehall Road, Carshalton, SM5 3EZ. Cheques must be made payable to Christian Creativity Ltd (not ArtServe).
We require a deposit of £50 per person at the time of booking, with the balance payable by 30 September 2023. You can pay your deposit by direct bank transfer, by debit/credit card via PayPal (or use your PayPal account), or by cheque. To pay your deposit by card, please complete the online booking form, then click the PayPal button on the 'thank you' screen.
You can pay the full amount at the time of booking if you wish, but there is no card payment option. When paying the full amount, or the balance, please pay by direct bank transfer, or send a cheque to ArtServe membership, 51 Blakehall Road, Carshalton, SM5 3EZ. Cheques must be made payable to Christian Creativity Ltd (not ArtServe).
Although primarily a residential weekend, you can attend on a non-residential basis for the whole weekend, or any combination of days.
Costs are as follows:
- Friday evening (including dinner) – £40
- Saturday (including lunch and dinner) – £75
- Sunday (including lunch) – £60
So to attend the whole festival on a non-residential basis would cost £175.
We require a deposit of £20 per day for non-residential bookings.
Some photos from our 2021 festival at The Hayes
Our October 2021 festival was entitled Encircling Love. Creative sessions included Celtic knotwork, singing, circle dance, drama, photography, vocal confidence, and craft.